Batting down fear
When I was growing up, baseball was one of my favorite sports. I dreamed of the baseball diamond—the pop of the ball in the glove and the whoosh of the swing of the bat. I had numerous opportunities to play in Little League and expand my skills. In middle school and high school, I participated in the Challenger Division, in which kids with special needs get to play. While this was a great opportunity, I still yearned to play with a mainstream team.
That opportunity came during my sophomore year of college. One of the players on the college team invited me to come out for an information meeting and practice for the upcoming spring season. I left that meeting committed to playing with the team at a level at which I had never played before.
I had a blast hanging out with my new teammates and learning new skills. But one day, while facing a hard-throwing pitcher during a preseason practice, I was hit near the eye by a pitch. Bleeding, I was taken off to the side of the field.
Fear crept into my head.
I wanted to pray about what had just happened, and I knew I would have support for that because I was attending a school with other Christian Scientists. Since my face needed some cleaning up, the assistant coach walked me to the campus Christian Science nursing facility, where I could get that kind of practical care. On the way, my coach reminded me that God, divine Love, was surrounding each one of us. He also reassured me that the joy I felt from playing with my teammates couldn’t be interrupted, because joy comes from God, so it’s always present. Hearing this helped me feel less scared about the injury.
After I’d been cared for by the Christian Science nurse, I continued to appreciate the joy that my teammates expressed. I also thought about a sentence from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that says, “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique” (p. 475). I understood that as a spiritual idea of God, an expression of Love, I can experience joy and freedom because God is the source of those qualities. The injury healed quickly, and I was soon able to go back to practice and have a great season.
I now know that God’s love always conquers fear.
Midway through my senior year, I was called to pinch-hit for a teammate during a game. As I was in the batter’s box sharing glances with the pitcher, I found myself thinking about the injury from two years before, and fear crept into my head again. I focused as much as I could on the pitching instead of the fear. Suddenly, I heard my teammates cheering and supporting me from the dugout. Immediately, I felt this all-encompassing love surrounding me, and I understood that it was God’s love being expressed by my teammates. As the next pitch came, I laced the ball through the middle for a base hit. As I reached first base, everyone cheered even louder, and the first baseman from the opposing team congratulated me.
This lesson on the baseball field has also helped me off the field. I now know that God’s love always conquers fear, because Love leaves no room for fear.